February 17, 2020

Oh The Fun Of Getting Divorced In Absentia

After Dearest Blue Eyes ghosted and left the country with his new source of narcissistic supply, he was essentially untouchable.

Yep, he was securely tucked away with his old love on another continent, safely hidden among a billion people in India, with no known forwarding address or verifiable contact info. Lovely.

Free Bird Has Flown The Coup

In addition to all the mayhem he created in my person and work life, had yet another problem in that I had no way to enforce payment of his share of the debts.

Where was he, specifically? … Was he doing something illegal? … Was he in some kind of trouble that I would later find out about? … Was he running from someone? …. Is that why he had left the country so abruptly?

Having been slapped silly by his stark and abrupt change in behavior, I was well aware that anything was possible.

So, to protect myself legally and financially, my minister recommended that I divorce him in-absentia. Loads of fun.

A Different Kind Of Personal Ad In The Classifieds

I don’t know if you’ve ever known anyone who had to do this kind of thing, but divorcing someone for abandonment is very different than most divorces.

It involves putting public notices in 1): local newspapers where the person is known to have last resided, 2): where you think the person may be currently residing and by, 3): sending notices to family members and last known acquaintances.

I even had to send the divorce notification to the new girlfriend’s office in Mumbai. Yay! More humiliation.

The Court Is In Session

I vividly remember that early January day when I had the fun of appearing in court to stand before the judge to finalize my divorce.

My name was called aloud, “Divorce case number 1234567 … Mrs. What’s-Her-Name-Dumpee vs. Mr. Blue Eyes Houdini Dumper”.

My attorney accompanied me as I stood before the bench. The judge didn’t start speaking immediately. Rather, she kept looking around for Houdini-Dumper.

She looked both puzzled and annoyed because there were strict rules posted in all the corridors about being late for court.

My attorney, sensing her growing irritation, leaned in and whispered, “In Absentia … due to abandonment”.

“Oh. I see …”, nodded the judge.

Shuffling Towards A New Life

Papers were reviewed, and as only could happen to me [!], it was soon discovered that my attorney’s paralegal had submitted the wrong divorce petition form!

The judge rolled her eyes, and in an empathetic gesture, told me not to worry. Then—and I kid you not!—she whipped out a bottle of white out and made the necessary corrections in ballpoint pen.

Added in her handwriting were the words: “Said defendant not present due to having absconded to India with his paramour.”

Am I On Candid Camera?

I must’ve had a surprised look on my face as I observed these keystone-cops-esque legal proceedings.

The judge looked sheepish, smiled at me and said, “I’m sorry. I don’t do these types of divorces very often.”

Ans wouldn’t you know it? Before I could even think about it, my humor imp replied for me, “Neither do I, your honor.”

You could tell that the judge wanted to laugh but maintained her professional demeanor. She smiled at me, turned on the equipment and recorded the “let the record show’ formalities.

With this done, she performed her obligatory banging of the gavel and handed me my set of very odd-looking—yet still very official—divorce papers.

Summary Judgment

As I got into the elevator and the door closed in front of me for my ride to the parking garage, my humor imp added chimed in with a line of questioning to round out the occasion.

As I looked down at the official seal on the papers, the imp said, “Okay, sweetheart, so you just got your second set of divorce papers in 30 years … Reckon what’s the common denominator here?”

“Me!” I said very matter-of-factly as the elevator doors opened to a fresh crop of couples hurriedly going upstairs to the Domestic Relations courtrooms

“The problem is me! And it stops here!” I said out loud as I rolled my set of papers like a scroll in my right hand and hit the elevator door as I exited.

On the way to the parking garage, I kept thinking to myself, “This is proof positive that my picker is definitely broken!”

Promptly Riding The Waterslide Down The Drain

In the months that followed, my unemployment compensation and the little bit of money that I left in the bank were rapidly depleted as I struggled to maintain a roof over my head for my grandson and myself.

Six months after losing my job, everything I had was gone. I lost my residence and became homeless.

From that time (June 2012), I existing as a wandering itinerant, living sequentially for short periods of time with various friends and relatives in different parts of the country.

Say Your Prayers

I pray to God that you never have to experience being a vagrant. It is SUCH a horrible feeling not to have one’s own place of residence. Furthermore, being a homeless (gasp … divorced) woman has a really nasty stigma attached to it, much akin to leprosy.

You become a third wheel everywhere. And I mean everywhere.

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